Throughout 2010, I did a lot of business networking. My efforts paid off in loads of new contacts, which was great, but not so great was the unexpected side effect of SPAM in my email box! About once a month, I got added to a newsletter without giving verbal or written permission (being in possession of someone’s business card does not mean they want to be added to a newsletter). These SPAM messages usually came from directly from someone’s email address without the use of an email list management service like Aweber (affiliate link). This meant that there was no “unsubscribe” button, and I had to email the person directly and tell them to remove me. If the spammer was on top of their email, I sometimes got removed. Often, it took more than once and I sometimes got added repeatedly after being removed.
This is SPAM as defined by the CAN-SPAM act (easy-to-read guidelines here), and is a great example of how not to build an email newsletter mailing list. It looks unprofessional and slapped together. If people aren’t opting in, the sender has no way of knowing if the newsletter is of value to the recipient of not. Only the recipient can determine that, and if they don’t want the newsletter then the sender is just being a pest by sending it.
There’s loads of reasons why this type of spamming isn’t a good idea, but the main one for me is that I’m irritated that the sender presumes to know their newsletter is good for me even if I don’t think it is. The way to avoid this is simple and not very expensive. Use a newsletter service like Aweber, and only send your newsletter to people that have expressed clearly that they want it. The rewards are huge – I’m still in awe every time I hit send that I have a community of people waiting to hear from me.